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Portland Seafood Restaurants

To quote contributor in another thread:
"And we want this in Portland, where we've already got a good dozen outstanding seafood restaurants?"

In agreement with another contributor, I too cannot think of more than Street and Co. and The Old Port Sea Grill, neither of which are outstanding Seafood restaurants. Street and Co., while decent and much better years ago, I see as more of a mediterranean/Italian resto featuring seafood and the Sea Grill is fair at best for seafood. Please find the other 10 outstanding seafood restaurants as I've never been and Portlanders need to know where they are!

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  1. Good call.....You are exactly right !

    1. I've always been puzzled that, for a city on the water, Portland has such a dearth of seafood restaurants. Looks like a niche waiting to be filled.

      1. The other ten or so are lobster restaurants and/or shacks eg. Dimillo's, Two Lights etc.

        1. Caiolla's has seafood on a good portion of it's menu. Abbey is the former chef at Street & Co. Four of us recently ate only seafood and had great meals.

          1. Joss, I'd add Fore Street, Yosaku and Hugo's to the list of non-"seafood" restaurants that do lots of great work with fish, but we're going off-topic.

            Actually, Noreaster, come to think of it, I would have to call Street & Co. an outstanding seafood restaurant. I mean: whaddya want: Le Bernardin? I do agree about the Sea Grille, which was serving a very tame selection of mostly farm-raised fish the times I went there.

            This is why I made the possibly-heretical point that Legal Seafoods might not be a bad match for this town. I eat at the Peabody location when I'm in that neighborhood and really enjoy their variety, preparations and wine list. Seems like no one here is willing to make that kind of effort save for Street & Co. I guess there are poor LSF's elsewhere, but I've been fortunate.

            The poster who claims a dozen outstanding seafood restaurants for Portland didn't reply to my response in the originating thread and hasn't shown up here. I wish she would: I'd still like to know what those 12 outstanding restaurants are.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Dual

              Back in the day, I used to swear by the LSF in Chestnut Hill. Alas, I went a couple Christmas' ago and it wasn't how I remember it. I understand your point regarding Legal's. It is what the Sea Grill SHOULD be but isn't. Jeff, may he rest in peace, understood the Portland market and cannabalized from his Falmouth location (which I neglected to mention in the last post and is actually far better than the downtown location) and kept it simple due to the seasonality of his location and the tourist market. I would have loved to have seen his crab shack a la Jasper's Summer Shack but he passed away before he could cement the deal..

              As for Street and Company, it is a seafood restaurant and no I don't expect Le Bernardin (don't they get their seafood from Browne Trading?) but not an OUTSTANDING seafood restaurant. They don't get much beyond branzini (ALWAYS the whole fish special), halibut, tuna and sole (any others please add) and find the fish cooking inconsistent. As a matter of fact, I find the fish better prepared at Fore Street. Maybe it is the mediterranean approach vs. Fore St. simplistic approach. Quality fish always responds better when you let it speak for itself and not drown it in garlic, chorizo and anchovy.

              I am waiting for the list of outstanding places too without counting the quality fried fish of Susan's, Drydock, Gilberts, Lob shacks ad nauseum, and all the others I've forgotten about.

              1. re: Dual

                I didn't reply in the other thread because it was increasingly off-topic. My point is quite simply that - rather than listing 12 "outstanding" seafood restaurants - we have plenty of places where we can easily get seafood that's fresher and more carefully prepared than LSF. I have a clear distaste for chains. I'd infinitely rather see another good seafood shack than LSF - that's my preference, to which I'm perfectly entitled. I have had the occasional decent meal at LSF - though none within the last 5 years - and most often, terrible service, dry and overcooked fish, and that dreadful chowder. A properly cooked haddock sandwich is better by far than most of the meals I've ever had at LSF. Are you going to tell me that it's a challenge to get a decent haddock sandwich in Portland?

                1. re: sophie fox

                  I know I'll be accused of splitting hairs but in your one response you went from Outstanding to good to decent...Which of these does Portland have? And many would still like to know your list. Even "decent" places in town are limited.

                  1. re: Noreaster

                    Gracious, I didn't realize that I was giving "legal" testimony here!
                    Yes, I used ALL of the terms "outstanding" "decent" and "good" and I meant each and every one. I could use "splitting hairs" "argumentative" and "needlessly confrontational" in a similar way. Your insistence that "decent" places in town are limited is frankly absurd.
                    While I have listed many (o dear heavens, possibly not 12!!!), I will say once again and for the last bloody time - I have had excellent, outstanding, decent and good seafood at:
                    1) Scales (sadly, no longer)
                    2) Fore St
                    3) Street and Co
                    4) Mim's
                    5) the Lobster Shack
                    6) Becky's
                    7) DiMillo's
                    8) J's Oyster
                    9) Fuji
                    10) Sapporo
                    11) Yosaku
                    12) Cinque Terre

                    In short, I personally have never had any trouble whatsoever finding excellent seafood in Portland. Could we use more good seafood restaurants? Sure. LSF? Absolutely not.
                    "and that's all I have to say about that"

              2. One of the best places for a wide variety of seafood used to be Scales in the Public Market. There used to be rumors that Scales would reopen somewhere in the Old Port. Has anybody heard anything lately?

                1 Reply
                1. re: rufustfi

                  Sadly, they are gone...they were part of the Street & Co/Two Fats Cats/Standard Baking/Fore Street family, so they had a good pool of talented cooks. I too miss their take on the traditional fish fry, thier oyster rolls and their fried scallops...Oh, and the salt cod!

                2. If it came down to one last meal, for me it might be the Lobster Fra Diavlo at Street and Co.!
                  I've got to take exception to the Fore St. reccomendation. The last two times I've been very disappointed with seafood there. A dried out and poor quality piece of monkfish, and a badly cooked seafood mix.
                  I'm with you though, it's tough to beat St. & Co.!